Your brain really can be renovated, and it can happen at any time. When you learn a new skill, you change your brain by making new neural connections. When you learn to play an instrument, speak a new language, juggle a ball, go for a walk, eat wild salmon, and so much more, your brain begins to change.
Mindful meditation is the practice of learning to focus fully on the present moment. This simple practice requires effort and discipline because it is the mind’s nature to wander, vacillating between what happened in the past (and the meaning we make of those experiences) and what we want to happen in the future.
Meditation feels like a warm, gentle current spreading from the middle of my chest up into my smile and flowing down my hips and the backs of my legs. When I give myself the time and space to be completely still, turn off my thoughts, and focus on nothing but my breath, my day always improves.
We constantly receive a bombardment of information in day-to-day life. When we sit, close our eyes, and disengage from activity in the world, we are afforded a chance to catch up on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual processes.
I used to sit at the edge of the ocean to find my rhythm. When planning my annual vacations, it was the water that called me--not so much to be in it, but to be by it. Maternal and soothing, the comings and goings of the tide was my "reset" button--you know, the one that allows you to deal calmly again with the world. Along came twins, and my exotic vacations were replaced with ventures closer to home. Being in a land-locked state, sitting by the ocean was no longer an option. How was I going to hit my reset button now? The answer was right in front of me--massage.
Most of us know that meditation is an opportunity to slow down and take a few deep breaths. But, with young kids, how do you find meditation time? Encourage your children to meditate with you. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, meditation can benefit children by promoting a sense of “well-being, calmness, relaxation, [and] improved sleep.”1
The Chinese discipline known as tai chi is easy for people of all ages to begin because there are no special fitness requirements. This gentle exercise improves strength, balance, hand-eye coordination, and relaxation and gives a surprisingly effective lower body workout.
As the holistic paradigm joins the mainstream, most of us are increasingly aware that everything is connected to everything else. Within this vision we acknowledge correspondence between body and mind, but most of us haven’t yet regarded our posture through a holistic mirror. The usual idea of good posture is an ideal positioning of the chest, shoulders, and neck. This idealized picture is so common that the mere mention of posture in public provokes sheepish adjustments of spines and shoulders.
We’ve all heard stories about people whose “bad feeling” led them to cancel a flight, only to discover later that the plane crashed. That’s intuition. Your experiences with intuition might not be so dramatic, but they’re no less valid. Maybe you can’t shake the feeling that you should call your mother, and when you do, you learn she’s sick in bed. Or your “little voice” tells you a business deal is going to fall through—and the client withdraws right before the contract is signed.
Winding down after a demanding day often means turning on the television, pouring a drink, or breaking into a pint of ice cream. A more productive, healthy way to chase away tension, anxiety, and the daily blahs is meditation. Here’s a meditation designed to help you quiet mind chatter, focus inward, and explore the limitless realm of your heart and soul.